For about four years, I made a YouTube show called “Co-Optitude” where my brother Ryon and I played retro video games together. We’d never actually played the titles before we played them on the show because…that was the hook! We cold-played them! Most of the time we had no idea what we were doing and talked endless crap while we failed over and over again. (Again…that was the hook.) Predictably, a small but vocal portion of the audience had a SERIOUS lack of sense of humor about some of the episodes, especially the one about Sonic. Who knew that dumb, over-sugar-saturated hedgehog with 90’s gelled hair could have had so many acolytes?! (Though, with Idris Alba playing Knuckles in the next film, I might have to re-evaluate my opinion of the franchise).
Viewers would often write in the comments, “Dude, I KNEW Felicia Day was a girl gamer poser, how dare she not know everything about Final Fantasy/Metroid/ Zelda/Every Console Game ever?!” First of all, those commenters sucked. But also, the irony is that I WANTED to play all those games as a kid! I DID! But my mom wouldn’t let me because she wouldn’t buy me and my brother a console! WAAAAAH! All we had in our house was a sad, barely-operable Atari 2600 with two game cartridges: Tank and Bomberman. Tank was boring and Bomberman was a creep. But my mom refused to let us get a newer console because she didn’t want us to “rot our brains”. Instead she bought us a now-dead computer system called an Amiga, and gave us educational games like “Mavis Beacon Typing” and “Math Blaster”! Here kids, go crazy with the “fun”! Thankfully, the computer was hidden in my brother’s room so we could pretend to play something constructive while really playing literally ANY other game we could get our hands on. (FYI I still don’t know how to type properly, I type like a Jurassic Park raptor: Three fingers on each hand. Thanks, Mavis.)
Since I was homeschooled, my only exposure to other kids and their magnificent lives with COOL gaming consoles, was a single afternoon I spent at my ballet teacher’s house when I was about nine. She had gotten her daughter this thing called a NINTENDO 64! Ooooh. Colors. I remember trying to play the Mario game she had. It was confusing. Pixel-y and why was the main dude a no-waisted plumber? He was almost as creepy as Bomberman! But then I realized that you could make the little dude hop around and run into turtles and I thought that was weird, but it was definitely better than Mavis. Then, when I finally figured out how to duck Mario’s squat little body into a pipe, I was like, IN LOVE. “Mom, please get us one of these! Did you see the pipe thing?! DID YOU?! Please? Pleeeeeeaaase?” She never bought us one. So to spite her, I designed my whole adult career around video games. Ha! Not really. But maybe? Hmm, I’ll give it a think.
Anyway, I’ve played a TON of games in my life since, especially on PC and Xbox, but I never really got around to diving into the Nintendo universe more than playing the occasional Mario Kart with friends because frankly, I had this dumb prejudice that the games were for little kids. When my daughter turned three and I finally decided to let her watch me play video games for 30 min a night, I broke out the Nintendo Switch for her because Nintendo stuff was baby stuff, right?
What a dummy dumb-person I was.
Truly, I’m so upset at myself. Because, turns out, I was missing out on SO MUCH FUN! The games are so adorable, so playful, so expertly scaled to satisfy all levels of ability. The puzzles are challenging but not impossible and it’s kind of astonishing how well they do…everything? No, this is not a sponsored Nintendo post, lol, I’m just happy to a) be able to change my mind about something b) have enough money to buy rot my braid with whatever games I want and c) have found so many games I can play with my daughter where I don’t have to traumatize her by slaughtering real-looking boars!
We have been playing so many titles this year, and I’m in love with all of them. (Well, except for Kirby, he’s a parasitic friend-cannibal, don’t get me started.) We started out with Yoshi’s Craft world, which is like OFF the adorable scale with its hand-crafted designs. Those Poochie Puppies, ya’ll…where are my plushies? Me wants them! We moved on to Captain Toads Treasure Hunt. Again, adorable, big mushroom fan. Then Animal Crossing, which I lost the summer of 2020 to PERSONALLY, but Calliope found boring because I always got bogged down in terraforming. Sue me, kid, it’s an ART FORM.
Finally, we moved into the Mario titles this summer and…OH BOY. Can I just say that I think Mario Odyssey is one of the best games of all time? At least the best Mario? I mean, clearly I haven’t played all of the Mario games, the ignorant git that I am, but don’t worry, my kid and I will get there! We’ve played through Odyssey twice, and I STILL can’t beat some of the extra levels, which is…embarrassing. “Mama, you can do it!” My kid tries to cheer me on and I have to say, “Thanks for the faith in me honey, but…I actually can’t.” We’re finishing up Luigi’s Mansion 3 right now (hence my Luigi crush, when he bounces up in the air? Yumm, come to Mama) and the game has piano boss I couldn’t bet for like an hour. Calliope finally said, “Mama, just give it up!” and I snarled, “NO! ONE MORE TIME I CAN DO THIS! Sorry for snarling, baby, but I got this!” And, then…I didn’t. So I rage quit quietly and put her to bed. But THEN I stay up late trying to beat it without her watching, because quite frankly she was giving me performance anxiety. And…I did it! After a number of times I won’t name! But at least I was able to show her the next day, “Look! I got frustrated with last night and I stopped for a while but then I kept trying on the boss and succeeded! Working hard pays off!” I lamely tried to to turn it into a teaching moment. The kid didn’t care. BUT I DID.
I did get a teachable moment with her through Mario, though. After we played Odyssey a few times, Super Paper Mario II, then a few others, my kid turned to me and asked, “Mama, why does Peach always have to get rescued?” And I was like, “Um, I dunno. You’re right, that’s lame.” I couldn’t stop there. “Uh…maybe she’s a scientist, with a very strong brain but her body isn’t so strong against bad guys?” She thought for a moment. “Yeah, that must be it. Peach is a scientist.” So, in my four-year-olds canon, Peach is a Phd, guys. Don’t ever contradict it.
And Mr. Nintendo, if you’re reading, if you could even ONCE put Peach in a game working in a scientific lab wearing a lab coat…I’d be very appreciative. :)
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RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Instant Pot Corn and Potato Soup = DELISH!
Turns out, Queen Elizabeth I’s personal astrologist used an Aztec “Spirit Mirror.” What a weird headline, right?
If you haven’t read about how Lidar is revolutionizing archaeology already, this article about discovering hundreds of Mayan ruins can be an intro!
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